Saturday 6 January marked a very special day for the 200 cruisers joining the World Cruising Club's annual round-the-world rally in pursuit of new adventures.
World ARC 2018-19
In the home port World ARC, on the island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean, the fleet World ARC 2018-19 began his 15-month trip around the world. The first crossing from Saint Lucia follows the route to Marina Santa Marta in Colombia. At the same time, in South Africa, participants World ARC 2017-18 resumed their journey after a two-month hiatus to make the last ocean voyage to Brazil via Saint Helena. All the crews, both in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, and in Cape Town, trying to set sails, were so excited that this atmosphere echoed across different hemispheres.
After years of dreaming, thinking, planning and preparation, the crews World ARC 2018-19 began their round-the-world voyage at Rodney Bay on the island of St. Lucia. In the intermittent downpour thirty-three yachts crossed the starting line at exactly 12:00 local time. Many crews, before the very start of the race, admitted that they still do not believe that this is actually happening. For many, this was the beginning of their life's dream come true!
Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia
As the yachts crossed the line, applause and cheers echoed across the water, and the atmosphere was inspiring. Friendly rivalry was already present, and the leader was a Swiss yacht Aranuifollowed by American flagship yachts Madrigal and Smoke & Roses... German yacht Lunatix, X-Yachts Xp 50, led the fleet past the first and only sign on the route, a turning sign located near Castries Bay. Four crews will begin the 815-mile trek to Colombia once minor technical issues are resolved.
Total, 45 boats to sail with World ARC 2018-19 over the next 15 months. Some crews will sail 26,000 miles around the world, others will join the Panama Passage to Australia before taking a year off to continue exploring the Pacific.
World ARC Is a truly international event with crews from more than 20 countries taking part in boats flying the flags of 14 different countries. The crews are made up of families with children, people who have taken a break from work for several years, charter boats, people who have sold their businesses and properties and made life an endless journey, and those who have retired early.
All crews went through a training program before starting in Saint Lucia. They all represent different nationalities, ages, motivations and dynamics, so between serious preparations such as security checks, workshops and briefings, this week was also dedicated to getting to know the crews who will spend many months in the ocean together. For many, this is the first and last opportunity to explore all the oceans of the world and see the unique corners of the planet.
Santa Marta Marina
First stop scheduled for 12 January at Marina Santa Marta, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. This transit point is one of the most popular on the route World ARC... Here the crews are provided with a welcoming warm welcome with good food and exceptional beaches awaiting their arrival.
For everyone, there is still the opportunity to join the World ARC fleet in Australia at the end of August 2018, to cross the Indian Ocean to South Africa and further to the Caribbean. This route runs far from dangerous regions and allows participants to enjoy a unique variety, such as the remote Cocos Islands, which not many travelers have visited.
Crew members currently participating in the World ARC Rally 2017-18, spent the last 2 months exploring South Africa after arriving in Richards Bay in early November. Celebrating exactly one year since the day many of them started their journey around the world, they are making plans for 2018, which will still be full of adventure for them. By April, crews will sail nearly 6,000 miles across the South Atlantic, up the Brazilian coast and back to Saint Lucia in the Caribbean to complete their circumnavigation.
After crossing the Indian Ocean and difficult navigation along the notorious Agulhas Current, the time spent in South Africa allowed the fleet to relax and recover.
Many spent the holiday season aboard with friends and family who came to visit to celebrate the New Year together, while others took the opportunity to fly home or explore South Africa and beyond.
The forecast promises favorable winds during the first few days so that the fleet can comfortably move to the remote island of Saint Helena, and from there the yachts will sail across the South Atlantic to El Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia in northeastern Brazil. Crews will arrive in Brazil in early February to witness the spectacular carnival season with their own eyes.
World ARC embarks on a round-the-world trip from Saint Lucia every year and twenty-one yachts have already registered to join the next rally starting from Rodney Bay in January 2019!
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